hopelessly happy


2007-12-26

Hope is a major element of many belief systems. "To live in hope" is seen as something to aspire to, akin to "positive thinking." You may have guessed, I disagree, let me explain why.

"Hope is the beginnung of unhappiness." - is a very cynical sounding proverb. Yet is a very positive thought to have when you think about it.

In "Stumbling on Happiness" Daniel Gilbert shows very nucely that we can only ever measure and know our own happiness in the here and now. Our memories are very subjective (filtered) and easily slanted by many things. so rememering happiness is seldom an option.

Hope on the other hand projects our happiness into the future. "There will come a time..."

As Gilbert explains, our view of our future emotions is skewed for very much the same reasons as our view of our past emotions. We simply cannot reliably predict what will make us happy.

And what is Hope? For the most part it is a mindset. Hope is the belief that things will improve. that we can be happy.... later.

Hope is also a strong statement (story) we tell ourselves about our current situation: living in hope - or having a hopeful mindset - tells the story that right now we are not happy. We can, and will be happy, but not now, later.

And when exactly will this later be? When, if ever, will we be happy?

we are only ever happy in the NOW. The NOW is when we feel, when we experience, it's the time of emotions. As such, I think, the hopeful mindset actualy hinders the simple experience of being happy. Afterall thingS will be better - Later.

Only if we can allow 'later' to actually become NOW at SOME point can we achieve what Hope promises.

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alles Bild, Text und Tonmaterial ist © Martin Spernau, Verwendung und Reproduktion erfordert die Zustimmung des Authors

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